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NBA finals, Celtics Lakers: 2010 ain't 2008

May 30, 2010, 9:59 AM EDT

Thumbnail image for Rondo_Fisher.jpgThe players are mostly the same. The franchises, the mascots, the colors, the pageantry, the history, the bad blood. All that’s still there. But this finals matchup is uniquely different from 2008 for five reasons.

1. The Lakers are better: When last these two teams met in the finals, the Lakers were less than a half season since the Pau Gasol acquisition. They were still figuring one another out, still learning each other’s tendencies. This team was not whole, as it is now. Furthermore, Andrew Bynum was out after knee surgery. Granted, Bynum’s still struggling with a faulty knee. But even in limited minutes, Bynum can be a huge factor, helping LA to dominate the glass and get easy points down low, two things the Lakers will need in this series. Ron Artest gives LA a wing defender they can sick on anyone and expect him to deliver. And he does.

2. The Celtics are better: You thought that 2008 club was tough? Try this one, that knows it’s a championship caliber squad. The Celtics simply have that much more swagger to their step this year because they know they’ve already gotten that ring, reached that summit, climbed that hill. They are not lacking confidence in that regard. They’re also more familiar with one another, and have learned different ways to beat teams. This is also a deeper club, with Tony Allen, Nate Robinson, and Glen Davis all providing significant minutes off the bench. This team is fiercer than it was 2008, as incredible as that sounds.

3. Rajon Rondo has come of age, Derek Fisher has become aged: Rondo has been phenomenal throughout the playoffs, arguably the best player in the league. Rondos’ shown a driving ability that can help the Celtics to not only attack the basket of LA but can open up opportunities for his teammates down low. It doesn’t take much for the Celtics to go into attack mode. Rajon Rondo is the high pitched squeal that lest the Celtics off. Derek Fisher’s having himself another playoffs full of huge shots. He’ll be called upon even more in this series to try and equalize Rondo’s contribution a bit.

4. Boston is better on the road and worse at home: TD Northbank Garden was a house of horrors for the Lakers in 2008, as they wilted in Boston time and time again. The Celtics are no longer unbeatable in Boston, losing games to Cleveland and Boston in the playoffs and it has become somewhat of an issue. The bad news is that they’re significantly better on the road. The Celtics have developed a knack for winning one of the first two games, stealing home court, and putting the fear of God into their opponent from the get go. LA has to hold serve if they want to put the C’s on ice.

5. The legacies are different: The 2008 Celtics were on a mission  to destroy everything. It was their first real chance at a championship, and when they realized that, they pushed their play to another level. But now the Celtics expect to in. They can point to that ring as the ultimate in validation. The Lakers on the other hand have just realized how good they can be at full strength, and are still struggling to get everyone at the same level.

Both teams are storied, both teams are champions, both teams are the cream of the NBA crop. We’ll have to see how this series shapes their legacy in the years to come.

176 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. luffy - May 31, 2010 at 3:11 AM

    Ok, some people here wants to talk about flashbacks…
    2008 – Andrew Bynum and Trevor Ariza were injured and didn’t play in the finals…
    2009 – Regular season, Lakers swept the Celtics w/both teams having complete and healthy line-ups.
    2010 – Agreed 100% that Rondo is good and Fisher can’t contain him but please… Lakers has overcome the best pointguards in the NBA right now (except for Derek Rose), R. Westbrook, D. WILLIAMS and STEVE NASH!!!
    Remember folks, Celts doesn’t have Posey, Powe and Eddie House now…
    Lakers in 6…

  2. Bruno - May 31, 2010 at 3:28 AM

    I am A Lakers fan living, yes living in Boston since 1998 when I moved here. I watch the Celtics every game any time it’s on, I watch all of local reporting on, interviews, analysis and so on and so forth. I know this Celtics team inside and out, I probably have watched more Celtics games over the past few years than Lakers games considering the work and TV schedule. However, let me say this, all the Lakers have to do is show up to beat the Celtics. They will run the Celtics out of their game plan. Remember 08? The Lakers do, and boy are they angry, they been wanting the C’s all along, they are salivating like lions for a chance to punch the C’s in the mouth. Here in Boston, the mood is a little more different, my fellow Bostonians and media are running on the “we beat them before we’ll do it again” “Look what we did to Cleveland and Orlando”. The mindset is different, the Lakers are going to come out and punch the C’s straight in the gut. Bynum will finally have a series he can play in due to Boston’s slow style, sorry Perkins but he’s not match for Drew. I’ll take Pau over Garnett any day right now, Pau’s footwork and vision and speed is way too great. Remember what Artest did to Durant? He’ll do the same to Pierce, and Kobe will have wider lanes this time around since Artest will be a scoring option against Pierce, therefore leading to easier points unlike in 08. I was afraid in 08 of the C’s and it was realized when they beat up the Lakers, but now I am more than confident.
    P.S. Eastern Conference better than West? If there was relegation in American sports half the Eastern Conference would be playing in a second tire league you bafoon. Oh by the way you may say Phil Jackson is overrated…ever think HE made those players into the best players. Did Mike, Shaq or Kobe win a title before he showed up? Didn’t think so, the triangle offense allows players to blossom my friend, please don’t waste our times here.

  3. Bruno - May 31, 2010 at 3:31 AM

    I am A Lakers fan living, yes living in Boston since 1998 when I moved here. I watch the Celtics every game any time it’s on, I watch all of local reporting on, interviews, analysis and so on and so forth. I know this Celtics team inside and out, I probably have watched more Celtics games over the past few years than Lakers games considering the work and TV schedule. However, let me say this, all the Lakers have to do is show up to beat the Celtics. They will run the Celtics out of their game plan. Remember 08? The Lakers do, and boy are they angry, they been wanting the C’s all along, they are salivating like lions for a chance to punch the C’s in the mouth. Here in Boston, the mood is a little more different, my fellow Bostonians and media are running on the “we beat them before we’ll do it again” “Look what we did to Cleveland and Orlando”. The mindset is different, the Lakers are going to come out and punch the C’s straight in the gut. Bynum will finally have a series he can play in due to Boston’s slow style, sorry Perkins but he’s not match for Drew. I’ll take Pau over Garnett any day right now, Pau’s footwork and vision and speed is way too great. Remember what Artest did to Durant? He’ll do the same to Pierce, and Kobe will have wider lanes this time around since Artest will be a scoring option against Pierce, therefore leading to easier points unlike in 08. I was afraid in 08 of the C’s and it was realized when they beat up the Lakers, but now I am more than confident.
    P.S. Eastern Conference better than West? If there was relegation in American sports half the Eastern Conference would be playing in a second tire league you bafoon. Oh by the way you may say Phil Jackson is overrated…ever think HE made those players into the best players. Did Mike, Shaq or Kobe win a title before he showed up? Didn’t think so, the triangle offense allows players to blossom my friend, please don’t waste our times here.

  4. Foul Dwimmerlaik - May 31, 2010 at 4:45 AM

    Homer? Not really. I would say the same thing. Between PJ and Red is like apples and oranges simply because there are profound differences in between their respective eras. However, I’ll take Red over PJ anytime unless Phil makes it five in a row, then that would mean at least 14 rings with one of his feet one toe shy of being covered with rings.

  5. Omnius - May 31, 2010 at 9:29 AM

    The Celts had the homecourt advantage in 2008 while the Lakers have it this time. The Celts played a shorthanded Laker team in 2008, no Bynum or Ariza. This year Bynum is playing hurt but still playing and Ariza has been replaced by Artest. The Lakers made the perfect trade getting Artest, giving the Lakers that added toughness they lacked in 2008.
    It will be a great contest between the last two NBA champs and reminds me of the 80′s when Magic and Bird faced off multiple times. The Aging Celts want to take back the title from LA while the Lakers want revenge for 2008. No I think that the Lakers have tremendous motivation to beat Boston, hopefully will close out in Boston. Kobe is only missing a win in the NBA Finals against Boston to make his Laker’s resume complete.

  6. Greg - May 31, 2010 at 10:56 AM

    For all you Laker losers, the Celtics just manhandled the two best teams in basketball, and guess what? Your next. You can try to write the script different but in the end you will fall short to the better all around team. The only hard ware they will be giving out on L.A. This year is the Oscar. Give one to Jack while your at it.
    You phony bastards.

  7. Israel-fake - May 31, 2010 at 12:03 PM

    Lakers vs Celtics
    Game 1-Lakers
    Game 2-Lakers
    Game 3-Lakers
    Game 4-Celtics
    Game 5-Lakers
    Lakers in 5!

  8. Cole - May 31, 2010 at 12:13 PM

    Well sorry, Isreal, but I don’t think you see my point.
    ALL the Lakers need to do is shut down Rondo. Pierce and the big three wont know where to go when he is making stupid chioces. See what the Magic did to him in games 4 and 5 but didn’t in 6? See what the Lakers did to Nash? But Rondo and Nash are different. Lakers forced Nash to shoot, but he is already a good shooter. Lakers win. They WILL force Rondo to shoot, and the big men will be all over those rebounds, for Boston is known for their horrible rebounding. Err, Lakers. Offensive rebounding will be big too. Lakers will have 3x more second chance oppertunities than the Celtics. This isn’t 2008 anymore. The big three are old. Rondo is young. Shut him down, it’s all over. Lakers in 6, possible 5 or if rondo isnt shut down in a few games Lakers in 7.

  9. Will be great Finals! - May 31, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    I all ways heard that Boston is a great sports fans city, I like the fanaticism, but these guys are #@$@ idiots. I will take our Hollywood and drama as long we have intelligence on our shoulders.
    Wake up C’s fans.

  10. lakersmeeko - May 31, 2010 at 12:23 PM

    sorry dude! you don’t know how the basketball operate.
    Lakers in 6.

  11. 34Piercefullness34 - May 31, 2010 at 12:38 PM

    Guys im a HUGE celtics fan. I can’t tell you how much I despise Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. But sadly I don’t think the Celtics can do it. They played the heats, or better called the Wades, nuff said. They played the cavs, or better called the King James Show, nuff said, then the magic, who left rondo to do whatever he wanted. I got hella excited but then i saw what Kobe and Artest said after game 6 against the Suns. Kobe said “All we need to do is take their point guard away” and Artest added “We got some stuff up our sleeves” so Im like wtf, they better not do what they did to nash. But my honest opinion, Lakers in 7. My celtics will give them a battle to remember but those nasty laker fans in home court will tear us to death with those gay MVP for kobe chants…

  12. Matt - May 31, 2010 at 12:47 PM

    You all say remember 08 and not having Bynum, but it would have been the same outcome, I know you’ll argue that so just read on for a bit. Once again you’re only looking at one side of the match ups. As well as Artest was against Pierce in the past on defense, his offensive numbers don’t compensate. And Perk has uped his play, or did you not see him single handily guard Dwight Howard, one of the best in the game? Gasol over Garnet?! Are you kidding me?! Also were do Ray and Rondo fit into you’re plan here; Ray quietly being one of our best players and Rondo showing he is one of our best. You’re clearly over ratting your team and under rating this team a bit here, I mean you’re treating it as if they haven’t lost at all yet, news flash, 57-25 in regular season, 12-4 in post season, they can be beat. And I’m not saying we can’t be beaten, so don’t try to flip this around on me. If you want to do flash backs try this one on for size, Celtics bumped by Magic in 7, without KG. If we had KG, it would be the same finals 3 years in a row. A fun fact you might not have known, after the Lakers won, Kobe sent Garnet a letter and here is the gist of what it said. “Thank you for missing the playoffs with your injured knee. Because of that we actually had a chance to win this thing instead of loosing to you guys once again. So I must thank you for that.” All you Laker fans look at one side of the match ups completely ignoring the other side, thus having an incomplete argument.
    P.S. I clarified what I meant about those comments about Phil Jackson, but its like you in your ways to not look at all the facts. And just because someone doesn’t have a ring doesn’t mean they’re not the best, MJ, Shaq and Kobe were all still the best before PJ got there. Oh and just to clarify, 1994, the year MJ was playing baseball and not on PJ’s team, who won that year. Because you can completely discredit my argument if the Bulls won it since he no longer had the best on his team. Oh wait, he still lost while not having the best player on his team. So I think there is a bit of a correlation there. Like I said, you over look all of the facts and only chose the ones that would support your argument, which makes for a flawed argument.

  13. Matt - May 31, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    I see a common factor in the way to beat the Celtics from all of you Laker fans, shut down Rondo. Wow, why hasn’t anyone ever thought of that before I mean its so simple.
    Its easier said than done, no one on your team really has the skill sets to shut down Rondo without leaving someone else completely open, which Rondo will see and exploit. If it were that easy, the Celtics would have lost a while ago, he is just too good of a player to shut down night after night.

  14. LAKERS4CHAMPIONS - May 31, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    Matt, none of the teams have tried to shut him down! If you watch basketball closely, Miami ignored him, Cavs TRIED in game 5 LOL
    and Magic DID in games 4 and 5. You refuse to believe it but the Lakers are arguably the best defensive team in this post season, yes better than boston. The cavs and magic dont have championship pride either. And most of the series was a one man show. for lakers, dont even say its gonna be a one man show. kobe, gasol, odom, artest, put in Dfish. bring a great 48% 3pt shooter farmer and a good young spark of energy like brown in. those are two guys who CAN shut down nash. what happened to westbrooke? nash is better than rondo. he hits his shots, rondo drives, but this time he has to be that little airplane that crashed to the twin towers,or should i say the triplet towers, the towers being gasol odom and bynum. dont ignore the facts. your saying “no one on your team has the skill to stop rondo” are you KIDDING ME? you must be high.its like saying everyone can stop a slam dunk handcuffed and blindfolded. watch sportscenter or espn dude, 7 out of 8 predictions go to lakers, including those from magic johnson, the great MJ, larry bird, and who else?? the hater CHEESEBURGER CHARLES BARKLY. oh this might suprise you, lebron james predicts the lakers take this championship. the only star in the nba i heard predict the celtics is louis scola, from the houston rockets. dont compare this to 2008, please. this is not 2008. perkins and wallace combine for 4 techs away from suspension, wallace needing 3. those celtic fans who say “rondo is th ebest in the post season” HAHAHAHAHAHHA its like sayin “WHOS KOBE? THE GUY AVERAGING 33 PPG 7.7 APG 8 RPG???” lakers thus take the trophy and their revenge.

  15. Great series - May 31, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    Remember defense wins championships. It would appear that the Lakers would win this pretty easy but defense changes the whole outcome. When the bulls dominated the lakers had an incredible team with Kobe, Shaq and a slew of good players that got wiped off the court by the Jazz. The Jazz got crushed by the bulls because of defense and the bulls even held the jazz to 50 points one game. It wasn’t until the lakers got the bulls coaching staff that they put it all together. In a west coast offense the lakers kill everyone but if the celtics can pound them with defense and make Kobe play both sides of the ball (that is what seperates kobe and michael. If michael saved all of his energy for offense he would have put up much bigger numbers but he dominated at defense, kobe may be a tiny bit better at offense but michael was far better all around and was deadly in the 4th quarter)kobe’s shots may not fall as easy with tired legs. I see lakers winning but celtics could steal it with intense defense.

  16. Cole - May 31, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    West means no defense??? Are you serious?? Kobe pulls of 30 ppg against the celtics, more than any other team in the west! Lebron pulls off 30 ppg against the celts! Your love for the celtics has blinded you. As you say about Rondo, no one can guard Kobe with tired legs. Pierce in 2008 could, not anymore. Allen can’t, his defense sucks 90% of the time. And the whole “no one can guard rondo without having anyone being wide open” shows your knowledge of defense. That would be a double team which they wont need to do to a small nervous Rondo. They will put Kobe on Rondo. If they try Pierce on Bryant, he will just run around him and get to the basket as he wants.

  17. Matt - May 31, 2010 at 1:47 PM

    C’mon, it was a funny thing to say, you loled. Also he might as well have, I have no doubt in my mind that we would be looking at the same final for the 3rd time in a row if KG was healthy.

  18. LAKERS4CHAMPIONS - May 31, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    Well I’m sorry you have your braces caught on Rondo’s dick. And don’t say anything like that about me with Kobe, I’m a Lakers fan for the series, originally I’m a Blazers fan.

  19. geat series - May 31, 2010 at 1:53 PM

    Dude the lakers have terrible defense. The bulls never allowed a 100 point game. The celtics have a good defense and if they can consistantly keep the lakers from scoring under a 100 points they can beat them. Will they, I don’t know? The Lakers not only have Kobe (the second geatest player in the league history) but the greatest coach’s in history that they stole from the bulls. Don’t underestimate them. I would love to see the Celtics win but unless they play a perfect game it may be a tough one. The Lakers can win with a good effort where it will take an outstanding performance for the celtics to pull it off.

  20. Cole - May 31, 2010 at 1:53 PM

    Hahaha I guess.

  21. Matt - May 31, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    Ok, true Kobe and LaBron average over 30 PPG against the Celtics, but this is a team sport, which means the only defense that matters is against the other team as a whole, which the Celtics do very well. I think Pierce still has something left in the tank, and Allen is a much better defender than sucking 90% of the time. And I think if they don’t double team Rondo, which when teams do it always seems like Ray is wide open for 3, so I mean I might know a bit more than I let on, he will drive the ball and score, he isn’t the same nervous Rondo of 08, he has come into his own and plays with a great deal of confidence. Now maybe my love for the Celtics has blurred my opinion here a bit, but can’t the same be said for you and your love for the Lakers? (I’m guessing you’re a Laker fan) And Kobe will hit his shots, but Pierce will force him into bad shots where he will miss some if he guards Kobe. Especially since you said earlier if Artest guards Rondo its a Laker sweep and if Kobe guards him its Lakers in 5. You seem to not be thinking of every aspect of the game, and only the ones that favor your argument. Now I addressed that earlier, look at my comment to you, #43. Answer those questions and if you answer them and it seems like a valid argument I may see your point.

  22. great series - May 31, 2010 at 2:05 PM

    no doubt the lakers have the better team. It comes down to heart. KG is playing good defense but needs to improve dramatically on offense. He is not the KG of the past. How will Ray Allen play? He can be inconsistant. Rashid needs to be huge from the 3 point line. What Celtics team will show up is the? We know what lakers team will be there. Fierce defense is the celtics only chance. Kobe is going to come with everything he has. Celtics could really do damage the the Lakers with a championship win because Phil Jackson may be hanging it up this year. If the celtics win it will most likely be a done deal. Its all about heart. I see lakers in 6 but am rooting for the celtics.

  23. LALvsBOS - May 31, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    Clearly shows how much you know about Laker basketball. Dude their offense runs on their excellent defense. The only series they struggled in was the OKC series, the Suns just were confident. I say Lakers in 6. Rondo’s been playing great, but I’m pretty sure they will defend him exactly how they defended Nash, jump shots. Thats what will win the series for the Lakers. As for the Celtics, they need to shut down Kobe(How? I got no idea) and they need to free Pierce from the grip of Ron Artest(Who has held Pierce to a career low 12.2 ppg on 36.6% shooting)and he has done such this regular season series too, with Pierce shooting for 13 Ppg shooting 38.6% from the field, add a career low 23.3% from 3pt range. If he can get free, this series will get much more interesting, but I stick to the Lakers winning in 6.(The stats, I did some research :D)

  24. Cole - May 31, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    Great arguement, Matt. It’s up to Artest, to answer that question. If he wants that ring, he wants this team to repeat, he will have to step up offensivly, so I’ll leave it at that. This will be a great series and I look forward to talking to you during this series to discuss some stuff.

  25. good series - May 31, 2010 at 2:22 PM

    Foul dwimmerlaik I think PJ could have easily won 9 championships in a row if Michael didn’t leave for 2 years. That would have been 8 straight titles and the only reason the bulls got broken up was because the General Manger Jerry Kraus convinced the owner that he was the reason why the bulls won all the titles and that he could rebuild a team just as easily. Michael pleaded that he was making a huge mistake and that the cubs have been trying to rebuild for a 100 years. Michael didn’t want to retire but the team forced a breakup so Michael quit the game. He only came out of retirement for the wizzards because he wanted to bring in talent because he wanted to be a part owner. Michael was heavy and out of shape by then. Jerry Kraus got fired after the owner realized that michael was the reason and only reason they won along with the coaching staff. The bulls won all those championships with below avg centers. The bulls could have won 9 in a row but egos got in the way and it wasn’t the ego of the greatest coach of all time or the greatest player. Pretty sad. The bulls were never the most talented but played a defense the league will never see again.

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